Carvin Jones- Backstage at The Green Hotel

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It's been a hell of a week.  Jo and I are just back from a U.S. road trip that took in Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans and have literally just moved house.  Well maybe not literally, the houses stayed exactly where they were.  In truth, it was Jo, me and all our possessions that moved.  Nevertheless, it's still been pretty stressful and we are in dire need of some musical healing. 

We are running late because I've just had an epic battle with a flat-pack t.v. unit that nearly ended in tears.  It made me recall the afternoons when my Father Joe would turn from a good-natured, fun-loving dad into an expletive-spitting typhoon of stress when confronted with the most basic self-assembly furniture.  Truth be told, I used to find it kinda funny but today I've well and truly met my match because putting this poorly designed collection of wood together feels like one of the challenges from the Saw films.  Karma's a bitch!

We are greeted by a wall of sound and a flamboyantly dressed man feverishly playing a white strat in the aisles. 

I complete the T.V. unit and we finally hit the road hoping to make up lost time and still catch the first song.  Unfortunately, a combination of fog and unfamiliarity with our new surroundings (our new home is in Abernethy) causes us to take a number of wrong turns.  We arrive feeling rushed and cursing google maps under our breaths. 

When we throw open the doors of Backstage at The Green we feel instantly better. We are greeted by a wall of sound and a flamboyantly dressed man feverishly playing a white strat in the aisles. 

It's clear within seconds of seeing Carvin Jones that he is the consummate showman.  It's like Prince, James Brown and a Pentecostal preacher somehow managed to conceive a child and forced him to play the guitar 8 hours every day.  Looking resplendent in a sparkling purple top he certainly doesn't look like he's lacking in confidence as he wrings every last drop of music from his trusty axe.  He's playing one-handed, behind his back and even with his teeth.  He reminds me of the scene near the end of 'Back to the Future' when Marty McFly gets a bit carried away with his guitar solo during 'Johnny B. Goode'.  He's really going for it and the shows still in its infancy.

Carvin Jones - Crowd pic

Jo and I had been really spoiled for music while and holiday.  We had seen the most amazing blues singer called Blind Mississipi Morris (who it turns out is Willie Dixon's cousin!) in Memphis and we were sceptical whether we would ever see live music quite like that back home.  We shouldn't have worried, as Carvin Jones has the most amazing blues pedigree.  This cat has shared a stage with the likes of B.B. King, Jeff Beck, Gary Moore and John Mayall and has been honing his craft since the late 80's.  

He's playing one-handed, behind his back and even with his teeth!

As well as being a great guitarist, Jones is also a pretty nifty vocalist, particularly on the heartfelt B.B. King-ish ballad 'Two Long Years' that has a drowning your sorrows late-night barroom vibe. 

Carvin's thick baritone is punctuated by slinky, tasteful guitar lines and his extremely talented rhythm section intuitively augment his playing and voice.  It is the only meditative track of the evening in a set made up of covers and original's mostly culled from Carvin's stonking new album 'What a Good Day'.  Songs like 'Money-Shot' with its catchy as hell Wah-Wah lead and the hyper-positive 'What a Good Day' have the audience tapping their feet and bobbing their heads.  The set culminates in an encore that takes in Bob Dylan's 'All Along the Watchtower (via Hendrix obviously) that really lifts the roof off the place.

It feels good to be settling into our new home, safe in the knowledge that we are just a 15-minute drive away (fog and google maps permitting) from live music that can comfortably hold its own with what's on offer in the U.S. 

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